Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home



Saturday the 8th April 2017 was a big day for blues in the UK because of events many miles away in Horsens, Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back HomeDenmark, the venue for the 7th European Blues Challenge organised by the European Blues Union (EBU) in conjunction with the BluesKartellet of Horsens, a town described by its mayor, Peter Sorensen, as ’a city of music – with streets of blues’ and a city ‘known throughout Denmark for its concerts with renowned artists, festivals and major events’.

For the first time in the event’s history, the European Blues Challenge was won by the UK with Northern Ireland’s Kaz Hawkins Band beating off some stiff competition, particularly from Belgium’s The Bluebones who were placed second. The event saw acts from some 21 European countries competing over two nights at the Forum in Horsens, a venue which, in the past, has played host to many major names including the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Paul McCartney.

In an emotional acceptance of the trophy, Kaz first thanked the UK Blues Federation for making it possible for her and her band to take part in the International Blues Challenge, which took place in Memphis, Tennessee in late January and where the band reached the semi-finals, as well as the European Blues Challenge.

She also expressed her gratitude to the event organisers and to the judges for ‘getting’ her music which is so much a reflection both of her and her life.

In addition to the trophy, the band will also have the opportunity to play at a number of top European Blues Festivals as well as enjoying a considerably raised profile on the European Blues scene.

Kaz’s acceptance speech was full of emotion, warmth and the power of the blues.

Watch the VIDEO HERE

Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back HomeBefore the results were announced on Saturday night, The European Blues Union announced the winners of the Blues Behind the Scenes Awards for 2017 which saw the Award for Production going to veteran and legendary producer Mike Vernon whose career spans many decades working with many great artists including John Mayall and Eric Clapton on the iconic Beano Album as well as many other major names over the years. Recently he has come out of semi-retirement to produce a number of albums for 21st century blues artists as well as putting together his own band with which he is touring.

Accepting the Award, Mike commented that he was knocked out to receive it but also very proud. He confirmed that he had no intention of stopping yet suggesting that if John Mayall is still touring in his 80s there was no way he (Mike) was going to quit!

Earlier in the day at the General Assembly of the European Blues Union, Dave Raven, award winning blues broadcaster, Chair of the UK’s Independent Blues Broadcasters Association and Treasurer of the UK Blues Federation, was elected to the Board of the EBU, the first time that the UK has been represented on this board and another big step towards blues in the UK being better represented in Europe.

For the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues), Ashwyn Smyth – Chair – said: ‘ We are both thrilled and very grateful that Kaz and her band have done us and blues in the UK so proud. Whilst the winning was down to Kaz and her band, we are so happy that we were able to facilitate them taking part in both Challenges and the win in Denmark is the cherry on top of the cake and can only serve to raise the profile of the blues in and from the UK!”


Bluesdoodles send our congratulations to Kaz Semi-finalists first in Memphis and now the Winner in Europe.

Check out review Feelin’ Good Album HERE

Check out Interview with Kaz after Memphis trip for international Blues Challenge HERE


Kaz Hawkins Brings European Blues Challenge Trophy Back Home


UK BLUES CHALLENGE 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston

UK BLUES CHALLENGE 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston


UK Blues Federation are delighted once again to be organising  the challenge.  UK Blues Challenge 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston, where four exciting acts are performing for the opportunity to represent the U.K. at the European Blues Challenge 2017.  The Challenge takes place at The Robin 2 Bilston on Saturday 12th November 2016 – Tickets available £10 in advance. The successful act will travel to Norway to represent the U.K. at the 7th European Blues Challenge 2017.

The popular  four acts performing in front of a panel of judges selected from the UK Blues scene (in alphabetical order)  are:-

Dove & Boweevil

Kaz Hawkins

Rebecca Downes

Wille and The Bandits
UK BLUES CHALLENGE 2016 at The Robin 2 Bilston

Red Butler Ready for European Blues Challenge 2016

Red Butler Ready for European Blues Challenge 2016


European Blues Challenge

UKBlueslogowww Following the completion of a crowd funding campaign set up by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) on Crowdfunder UK, UKBlues is very pleased to announce that a total of £570.00 was raised thanks to the generosity of the contributors.

After the deduction of the fees levied by Crowdfunder UK, PayPal and Stripe who process the payments, a total of £540.00 remains and UKBlues have passed the whole of this to Red Butler to assist with their costs appearing at the 6th European Blues Challenge in Torrita di Siena, Italy in April.

It is believed that this is the first time that the UK’s representative at the European Blues Challenge has received financial support from the UK blues community.

For Red Butler, Alex Butler said: ‘’We’d like to thank everyone who has been part of this incredible effort to support us in our journey to Italy. We are honoured to have the opportunity to compete in the competition flying the flag for the U.K”

For UKBlues, Ashwyn Smyth: ‘‘We are very pleased and not a little proud that we have managed to provide some financial assistance to Red Butler as they travel to Italy to compete with 20 other acts from around Europe in the 6th European Blues Challenge. We believe this is the first time that this has happened.

We hope that people will recognise that UKBlues means what it says and that we are working hard to ‘promote and support Blues in and from the United Kingdom in all its forms and styles.’ This is just one small first step, next year we hope to be able to assist the winners of this year’s UK Blues Challenge to attend both the EBC in Denmark and the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

RED Butler Cheque-2565
Danny Bryant presents Alex Butler with the UK Blues Federation’s cheque for the money raised by UKBlues’ crowd funding campaign.
At the Waterfront, Norwich
l to r – Paul Smith, Board Member – UKBlues, Alex Butler, Danny Bryant, Charlie Simpson, Jane Chloe Pearce, Mike Topp (Red Butler)

We also have many other things which we are working on and invite people to support our work and the blues in the UK by joining the UK Blues Federation.

If you are not already a member of UKBlues, why not join now? Check UKBlues Federation HERE

For more information on the European Blues Challenge visit HERE


LogoUKB Hi REs 500



The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) is pleased to announce that the band
representing the UK at the 6th European Blues Challenge</strong> (EBC), organised by the
European Blues Union (EBU) will be Red Butler, winners of the 2nd UK Blues
Challenge on Saturday 24th October 2015 at the Boom Boom Club in Sutton, Surrey,
jointly promoted and organised by Pete Feenstra Real Music Live and UKBlues.
A panel of five judges chosen from across the UK blues community awarded contestants
points for the four criteria laid down by the EBU – originality, instrumental talent, vocal talent
and stage presence. Red Butler were the winners from a field also including Malaya Blue,
The Brothers Groove, and The Katie Bradley Band.

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ebcThe 6th EBC will be held on 8th-9th April 2016 in Torrita di Siena in Tuscany, Italy and will see
20 European bands competing. Previous UK representatives at the EBC have been BenPoole, 24 Pesos, Babajack, David Migden & the Twisted Roots and Laurence Jones.
The recently created UK Blues Federation is honoured to have been appointed by the EBU to run the Challenge and is setting up a crowd funding campaign to assist with Red Butler’s costs in connection appearing at the EBC. Full details will be available soon on the UKBlues website
Ashwyn Smyth – Chair of UKBlues – said: ‘It has been a lot of hard work to pull both the
selection process and the UK Challenge together, but it was all worth it! I am sure that Red
Butler are going to do us proud in Italy next year. Our thanks go to Pete Feenstra for all he
has done to make the Challenge happen and to the five judges who were faced with making
some difficult choices. This has also been a great way to introduce the newly formed UK
Blues Federation to the blues community in the UK and we have many plans for the future
including, we hope, seeing a UK representative at the 2017 International Blues Challenge in
“We hope that many people will want to join UKBlues and help to support us in what we are
doing and they can do so by going to our website where there are details of membership
types and how you can join.”

Alex Butler of Red Butler said:”There is huge exhilaration
amongst the band at winning the UK Blues Challenge. We put our hearts and souls into the
gig against stiff opposition. The immediate reaction from the crowd told us this was
something special from the word go. We are thrilled to have a major European event in the
calendar for next year.”


UK Blues Challenge 2015

LogoUKB Hi REs 500UK Blues Challenge 2015
Boom Boom Club, Sutton

One Venue, a New organisation and 4 bands was everything you needed for a fantastic competition and night of live music exploring the depth and breadth of twenty-first century British Blues to have a winning combination. The evening was organized by the newly formed UK Blues Federation, and held at Pete Feenstra’s wonderful Boom Boom Club. The music comprised four bands, Brothers Groove, Katie Bradley Band, Malaya Blue and Red Butler providing the judges with a challenge of their own to score the wealth of talent on display tonight. The decision meant the winner would be going on to represent the U.K. at The European Blues Challenge in Torritadi Sienna Capitale Europea del Blues 2016; the band flying the flag with energy and a winning style will be Red Butler.

The club was packed and the anticipation high as people came together to enjoy catching up with friends and making new ones, everyone though was here to support the bands.

First on stage were Brothers Groove, who delivered blues full of rhythms and blues with a deep grove and energy, the two guitars up front give tone and texture that funk up the bluest of grooves; the applause reflected that every one of the four tracks they choose tonight were enjoyed.

The second band, Katie Bradley Band was the only band that played the harp and combined with Katie’s wonderful singing voice this is a band that pulls up the depths of the Delta and the intertwining weaves between Dudley Ross on guitar and Paul Jobson on keys created a musical storm of instrumentation that reflects the expressive vocals.

Third band of the evening and second band with a woman as lead vocalist is Malaya Blue who has been stirring up a storm at festivals and shows where Malaya and the band entertain. Her voice is rich and velvety smooth , a soul singer that shouts the blues and her band tonight was the second outing of the evening for Dudley on guitar, and on keys Paul Long. The music was smooth and the audience listened spellbound as the four original tracks sung by Malaya put a spell on everyone listening tonight.

Another quick change over and the last band of the night Red Butler hit the stage and the third female vocalist Jane Chloe Pearce took the microphone upped the tempo and got the audience participating with clapping and choruses it was electric live music captivating everyone; impressing the judges so that they got the top marks and are off to Italy in April 2016. This is a band that is greater than the sum of the individual talents, Alex Butler on guitar takes the lead and plays dirty with a slide and then ups the tempo with fine electric guitar fingering. The rhythm section of Mikey Topp and Charlie Simpson give the band a platform that hums and bounces with an energized rhythm. The songs reflect modern living and Pension Blues is a reflection that planning for your pension is not the top of a young bands priorities. Alex and Jane leaving the stage and then walking through the audience provided a fitting close for the set that ultimately won.

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bba 2015In addition to this it was an opportunity to present to prize to participants who where winners at British Blues Awards 2015, filling in the gap while the audience waited to hear who the winners were. a real opportunity to celebrate the wonderful musicians that create the vibrant British Blues Scene.

UK Blues Challenge 24th October 2015

The Four Bands at The Challenge on 24th October 2015 The Boom Boom, Club Sutton

and visit UK Blues Federation Subscribe to the new You Tube Channel HERE


A selection panel created by UKBlues formed of nearly 200 musicians, writers, promoters, venues, festivals, radio presenters, PR/promotions, agents, record labels, and fans, including all UK Active Members of the European Blues Union (EBU) and representatives of the UK’s previous European Blues Challenge (EBC) contestants has chosen four artists to compete in the latest UK Blues Challenge.

The top four acts available to compete have been invited to take part in the UK Blues Challenge, which is being jointly promoted by EBU Active Member Pete Feenstra and UKBlues and which will take place on Saturday 24th October 2015 at the Boom Boom Club in Sutton in front of a panel of judges drawn from within the blues community chosen by UKBlues and Pete Feenstra, but who, for obvious reasons, will remain confidential until after the Challenge. They will use the same criteria to award points to the contestants as is used at the EBC.

The acts in order of appearance on the 24th are:

19.45 – 20.15 – Katie Bradley

20.30 – 21.00 – Malaya Blue

21.15 – 21.45 – Brothers Groove

22.00 – 22.30 – Red Butler

UKBlues congratulates the acts on their selection to take part in the UK Blues Challenge.
For more details about the UK Blues Challenge and how you can pre-book your tickets visit Pete Feenstra’s site or call +44 (0) 20 8791 9078

The winner of the UK Blues Challenge will represent the UK at the 6th European Blues Challenge, organised by the EBU, and which will take place in Torrita di Siena, Italy on 7-8-9th April 2016.


This is what Babajack says about the European Challenge having represented the UK at The EBC in 2012